Panel Discussion: Small Talk Collective

We talk a lot about the importance of networking and collaborating with peers, and Small Talk Collective in Portland discussed that and many other things (the lack of ego and competition when women support women, mutual inspiration and accountability, and whether photographing is, at heart, a solitary activity) in their recent Brown Bag Panel at the Portland Art Museum.

The collective is made up of seven women, all fine art photographers, including AAU graduate professor Marico Fayre. Founded by Kristina Hruska in July, 2015, the group is celebrating one year of mutual support, peer critique, collaborative projects, and having a safe space to share their work and lives, especially in a perilous economic environment where defunding the arts is leading to closures of nonprofits, including that of the Newspace Center for Photography, the non-profit where the women originally met. 

We are happy to share some of their work here!

Briana Cerezo: My work explores the vulnerability of being seen. That comes through a few different threads including self-portraiture (you gain so much perspective being in front of the camera). I am a compassionate witness, recording someone’s vulnerability. It’s a privileged position for me to witness people being seen in portraits and I love sharing what I learned.  


Marico Fayre: I’m a visual thinker, and on my best days, a visual poet. My art explores personal metaphor, notions of home, mental illness, LGBTQ identity, and the search for community and belonging. It’s reflection and meditation and accountability and connection. Creating, for me, is an inherent part of being in the world and understanding myself and others.


Leslie Hickey: I look for symbols, something that explains the whole. Photography is also a compulsion; a desire to collect and keep things - I can’t keep a frescoed wall, a moment, a place - so I photograph it instead.


Kristina Hruska: My projects span many genres and subjects. Photography is church for me. My most current work is about healing through art.


Audra Osborne: My photography typically centers around my anxiety and how it affects the relationships I have with the people around me. It’s therapy; I’ve tried the pharmaceutical path and it didn’t work for me. Anxiety will always be there, but photography is a way of communicating what I’m feeling when I can’t put it into words. I need to work hands on - that’s why I like film and macrame and books and paper crafts. And cats.


Kelli Pennington: My work is an examined life, a way of being aware of how we frame our perception and perspective. I explore interpersonal relationships and the ever-changing dynamic of growing older in relationship to the people around you.


Jennifer Timmer Trail: I’m most interested in what I can communicate in a psychological and emotional level within a photograph. My work is mostly about relationships and also touches on a lot of nostalgia and the process of aging. I explore difficult topics, I break things down, but I’m not looking for healing.

Follow Small Talk on Instagram and check out more of their collaborations and individual project at